Title: The Shadow Hero
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Illustrator: Sonny Liew
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
In 1944, Chu Hing became one of the first Asian Americans to work in the American comic book industry. He created a World War II superhero named the Green Turtle, whose face was never shown and whose origin is shrouded in rumor. Decades later, Gene Luen Yang has given an origin story to what is believed to be the first Chinese superhero.
Enter Hank. He’s a pretty average nineteen-year-old. He helps his parents run their Chinatown grocery store and he aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps as store owner. When Hank’s mom gets the notion that he should become a superhero his arguments about not possessing any powers don’t dissuade her (and lead to a few run-ins with toxic chemicals).
While the original Green Turtle never did find an audience, this re-imagining is a great addition to the superhero ranks! Sonny Liew’s illustrations are wholly captivating and beautifully drawn and Gene Luen Yang’s story is humorous and engaging in true superhero fashion.
Thinking of using this book for the classroom or a book club? Be sure to check out First Second’s discussion guide.